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bad to be detailed;" but no one, I am convinced, can read the slight and delicate allusions made by the Noble Earl, without suspecting there must be something very deficient, both in the discipline of our Church, and in that ecclesiastical code which should give strength and efficiency to the mandates of her ruling authorities. My fearful anticipations were in a great measure realized, by finding that the Bishop of Lincoln stated unequivocally, "that the parish of Long Sutton, within his Lordship's diocese, had long been deprived of the benefits of religious worship, and was in a state scarcely less deplorable than that of a heathen country."— I must here observe, among the confirmations I have received that many of the laws which should regulate our ecclesiastical concerns are obstructed by the rubbish and abuses of modern times, and that the discipline of our church is much too feeble, and obviously defective (so that, unless the former are purified, and the latter more summarily enforced, much of that consistency which we have hitherto claimed will very properly be questioned and disputed), is one which took its rise from some inquiries which I made, in consequence of the Bishop of Exeter deploring in the House of Lords the existence of reverend corporators within his diocese, and at the same time expressing his inability to prevent such secular interruptions. I have since been persuaded of some legislative interference being necessary, from his Lordship's opinions having been so little noticed by these Reverend common-councilmen; indeed, I have heard but of one resignation in consequence of the Bishop's disapprobation; and I am afraid there are not wanting instances of reverend gentlemen having encumbered themselves with municipal and civic engagements, even since the public declaration of their diocesan's views and sentiments.—I trust, my Lords, I may

here be permitted to say, that, after a pretty extensive research among the Canons and Constitutions which ought to regulate our ecclesiastical concerns, calling in at the same time a due consideration of the common law of the land, to which I will add the assistance I have derived from a correspondence enjoyed with some of the most pious and learned men of the present time, I conscientiously believe that a Bishop does possess the means of correcting what he deems to be evils; but I submit to the decisions of authority, though, unlearned as I am, I may still advocate the reform of evils and abuses which are very generally allowed to exist.

I assure you, my Lords, I was but little prepared to hear that a bishop was not armed with the necessary authority to release the inhabitants of a parish within his diocese, from the insults of a drunken, sensual, profane minister-that he was unable even to afford to a congregation within his jurisdiction the due celebration of the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper! For it would appear, that in the parish of Long Sutton this sacred rite had been administered but twice in sixteen years. Yes, my Lords, I little expected to find, that the bishop of a diocese was not armed with sufficient authority to prevent the inhabitants of a parish" being deprived of the benefits of religious worship, and for a long time remaining in a state scarcely less deplorable than that of a heathen country." The prelate above alluded to assured the House that "he spoke the sentiments of a great authority, when he said that the ecclesiastical law was a perfect chaos, and that he thought it was high time that this chaos should be reduced to order." Have we, then, no body of persons to whom the members of the Establishment can look to extricate them from so lax and lamentable a state of their spiritual concerns? How widely different are our political matters and relations govern

ed! The Chancellor of the Exchequer is found to be sufficiently active in raising the necessary supplies, and evinces abundant ingenuity in exposing the details of the budget; the Foreign and Colonial Secretaries are watchful, and ever on the alert, to support the dignity and commercial prosperity of their country; the army and navy estimates are calculated with surprising accuracy, by those whose duty it is to detail the expenses of these departments; and a late Home Secretary, though no lawyer, and who declares himself puzzled when reading an Act of Parliament, has added to his claims upon the country by lately introducing several highly valuable bills for consolidating, and in part amending, successive portions of our criminal jurisprudence. These bills will remove one hundred and thirty statutes, and condense the law respecting theft into twentynine pages: the language has been rendered more intelligible by the omission of useless aud tautologous phraseology. This, my Lords, is really reducing a chaos into order. These bills also in some respects diminish capital punishments-an object, we trust, which will be extended further as soon as the intelligence of the country will allow. The late Master of the Rolls, our present Lord Chancellor, has also brought in a bill to regulate and improve proceedings in the court of chancery; and the Solicitor-General has evinced his readiness to improve the law as respects arrests upon mense process.

Allow me then, my Lords, once more to ask, if the members of the National Church possess no means of protection for their spiritual interests; no channel, through which an amendment and improvement of their ecclesiastical legislation may be obtained? The clergy are very properly excluded from sitting in parliament; but does there not exist a body of piety and learning in the upper house, with whom the claims of religion, and the laws connected CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 308.

with it, should be objects of transcendant importance? My Lords, I must be permitted to speak without disguise. It is to your Lordships that the members of the Established Church look for whatever parliamentary interference may be required; it is to your Lordships they look for whatever may be necessary for the correction of ecclesiastical abuses, for the renovation of discipline, and for the reparation of those decays which, to the most superficial among us, the time-worn front of our venerable mother but too clearly presents. To you, my Lords, we look to restore our beloved Church to its pristine state; and we will cheerfully lend our aid and contribute our assistance to make the necessary additions, which the times, and particularly an increased and better-informed population, may require, whether they be for ornament or use; but ever let us hold as inviolably sacred her firm and deep-laid foundations, and take especial care that in our modern enactments we strictly preserve the chaste and pious harmony of the ancient fabric. It is to the episcopal bench we look for help; it is from the episcopal bench we expect assistance; and it is from a consideration of the learning, the character, and the opportunities of the episcopal bench, that we claim as a right its interference, and without further delay, to have this ecclesiatical chaos reduced to order. There can be but one apology for the present state of our church discipline and ecclesiastical law,namely, that "The labours of our bishops occasion a want of time for engagements foreign to diocesan avocations." I wish, my Lords, I could conscientiously admit even this extenuation; but how can we admit it, when we so frequently observe that a multiplicity of engagements are not objected to? To episcopal employments how often. do we hear that those of a deanery, a prebend, the mastership of a college, a professorship, and even pa

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rochial anxieties, are united? Even as respects literary research, let the Fathers moulder a little longer on the shelf; let "Calvin's absurdities" and "Luther's warmth" for the present remain unnoticed; let the Unitarian revel in his reasoning and glory in his want of faith, and the Catholic deal out his indulgencies and anathemas in peace, until we have set our own "house in order:" and while limiting ecclesiastical legislation to the protection of patrons and incumbents, who had (of course unintentionally) rendered themselves liable to heavy penalties through simoniacal engagements, let us re

collect that our ecclesiastical law is a perfect chaos; that such is the difficulty of enforcing the discipline of the national church," that its character is injured;" and that, unless some means be adopted whereby summary correction may be enforced, whole parishes may "for a long time be deprived of the benefits of religious worship, and remain for a protracted period in a state scarcely less deplorable than that of a heathen country!"

With every assurance of my respect, I am your Lordships' humble servant,



History of the Progress and Suppression of the Reformation in Italy in the Sixteenth Century: including a Sketch of the History of the Reformation in the Grisons. By THOMAS M'CRIE, D. D. 8vo. pp. xii. and 434. London: Cadell.

IN turning our thoughts to that great revolution of the sixteenth century, the Reformation, we are very apt to confine our view to Germany, to England and Scotland, to Denmark and Sweden; to the countries in which the Reformed faith obtained an actual establishment, and became predominant; and to regard the effect produced as restricted to those countries. But the changes then introduced exerted a powerful influence far beyond the places which were the immediate and permanent scenes of their operation; so much so, that among the means which eventually stopped the progress of the Reformation has been reckoned the improvement which it forced upon the Romish church herself, at least in many of her dependencies. Evils which had reigned without controul amidst the darkness that had pre

vailed, were compelled to retire before the light now let in upon them, and the Romish clergy felt themselves constrained to observe many duties and decencies which they had before neglected.

Nor was this all; for it appears that the doctrines and principles of the Reformation itself gained a footing, much beyond what is commonly apprehended, and for a considerable time maintained it, in countries from which they were finally expelled, and their very memory obliterated, by the unrelenting tyranny of Rome, and the merciless hand of the Inquisition. We had occasion to advert to instances of this kind at Cologne, in Austria, and in Italy itself, in reviewing Mr. Scott's Continuation of Milner's Church History (Number for January, pp. 35, 36, 44); but in the learned and highly interesting volume now before us, Dr. M'Crie, whose skill in this department of sacred literature is well known from his Lives of Knox and Melville, has pursued the theme, and collected from various quarters, many of them accessible to but few readers, details respecting the progress-and, alas! we must add, the final suppression-of the Reforma

tion in Italy, which will in many parts gratify, and in all powerfully affect, every one who has the cause of genuine Christianity at heart. It is, indeed, comparatively "a blank in the history of the Reformation," as that history has hitherto been recorded, which he has laboured to fill up; and we have great pleasure in announcing, that the public may soon expect a similar volume from his pen relative to Spain.

In the opening chapter of his work, Dr. M'Crie, after slightly glancing at the earlier history of the church in Italy, from which it appears" that the supremacy claimed by the Bishop of Rome was resisted in that country after it had been submitted to by the most remote churches of the West," and that "it was not till the eleventh century that the popes succeeded in establishing their authority at Milan," comes to the period of the revival of learning in the fifteenth century. The details in this and the following chapters are learned and curious; but the general reader will perhaps feel a greater tendency to weariness in this than in any subsequent part of the volume. From the earliest dawn of letters in Italy, remarks our author, the corruptions of the Romish church had been discovered by persons who entertained no thought of renouncing her communion; and besides Laurentius Valla (whom Bellarmine afterwards called, not without reason, the precursor of the Lutherans, pp. 15, 48), and Poggio Bracciolini, and Jerome Savonarola, and Egidio of Viterbo, and John Francis Pico of Mirandula, Dante, Bocaccio, Petrarch, and Guicciardini, in their several ways, lashed the vices of the clergy, or denounced with singular freedom and boldness the abuses which threatened the ruin of the church and the utter extinction of religion. Some striking reflections are offered by Dr. M Crie on the state of religion in Italy: and it is chiefly for the sake of introducing them

that we dwell longer on this portion of the history.

"The Italians could not, indeed, be said to feel at this period a superstitious not originally form a discriminating feature of their national character: it was superinduced; and the formation of it can be their full effect subsequently to the era of distinctly traced to causes which produced the Reformation. The republics of Italy in the middle ages gave many proofs of religious independence, and singly braved the menaces and excommunications of the Vatican, at a time when all Europe trembled at the sound of its thunder. That quick-sighted and ingenious people had, at an early period, penetrated the mystery by which the emptiness of the papal claims was veiled, while the opportunity which they enjoyed of narrowly inspecting the lives of the popes, and the real motives by which they were actuated in the most imposing of their undertakings, had dissiof veneration and awe for the holy see pated from their minds those sentiments which continued to be felt by such as viewed it from a distance. The consequence of this, under the corrupt form in which Christianity every where presented itself, was the production of a spirit of indifference about religion, which, on the revival of learning, settled into scepticism, blished forms of the church. And in this masked by an external respect to the estastate did matters remain until the middle of the sixteenth century, when, from causes which will be seen, superstition and ignorance took the place of irreligion and infidelity, and the popes recovered that empire over the minds and consciences of their countrymen, which they had almost entirely lost.....On a superficial view of the matter, we might be apt to think, that a people who felt in the manner which has been described, might have been detached without much difficulty from their obedience to the Church of Rome. But a little reflection will satisfy us, that none are more impervious to conviction, or less disposed to make sacrifices to it, than those who have sunk into indifference under the forms of religion; especially when we take into view the

devotion to the see of Rome. This did

alienation of the human mind from the spiritual and humbling discoveries of the Gospel, as these were brought forward, simply and without disguise, in the preaching of the first Reformers. Experience too has shewn, that men whose hearts were cold and dead to religion have turned out as keen and bitter persecutors as the most superstitious and bigoted, when their peace has been threatened by the progress, or their minds galled by the presentation, of truths which they hated as well as disbelieved." pp. 22-25.

Dr. M'Crie next proceeds to trace

the introduction of the Reformed opinions into Italy, and the causes of their progress. And here, in recording the patronage at that time given to the cultivation of the learned languages and of sacred literature, to the translation of the Scriptures and the composition of commentaries upon them, the following remark naturally suggests itself:

"In surveying this portion of history, it is impossible not to admire the arrangements of Providence, when we perceive monks, and bishops, and cardinals, and popes, active in forging and polishing those weapons which were soon to be turned against themselves, and which they afterwards would fain have blunted, and laboured to decry as unlawful and empoisoned." p. 50.

But, besides this, many other things contributed to the dissemination of the Reformed doctrines in Italy. The writings of Luther, Melancthon, Zuingle, and Bucer, early found their way thither, and were read with approbation. Two years had scarcely elapsed from the first appearance of Luther's writings against indulgences, when he received the following information, in a letter from John Froben, a celebrated printer at Basle:

"Blasius Salmonius, a bookseller at Leipsic, presented me, at the last Frankfort fair, with several treatises composed by you, which, being approved by all learned men, I immediately put to the press, and sent six hundred copies to France and Spain. They are sold at Paris, and read and approved of even by the Sorbonists, as my friends have assured me. Several learned men there have said, that they of a long time have wished to see such freedom in those who treat Divine things. Calvus, also a bookseller of Pavia, a learned man, and addicted to the muses, has carried a great part of the impression into Italy; such favour have you gained to yourself and the cause of Christ, by your constancy, courage, and dexterity." pp. 31, 32.

Even the repeated military invasions which Italy suffered, were rendered subservient to the diffusion

of the light of the Gospel among its


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"The troops which Charles V. brought from Germany to assist him in his Italian expeditions, and the Swiss auxiliaries who followed the standard of his rival Francis I.

contained many Protestants. With the hands, these foreigners conversed on the freedom of men who have swords in their religious controversy with the inhabitants on whom they were quartered. They extolled the religious liberty which they enjoyed at home, derided the fright

ful idea of the Reformers which the monks had impressed in the minds of the people, talked in the warmest strains of Luther and his associates as the restorers of Christianity, contrasted the purity of their lives, and the slender income with which they were contented, with the wealth and luxury of their opponents, and expressed their astonishment, that a people of such spirit as the Italians should continue to yield a base and implicit subjection to an indolent and corrupt priesthood, which sought to keep them in ignorance, that it might feed on the spoils of their credulity." pp. 57, 58.

And here both the reflection of Dr. M'Crie and the facts which he records are highly interesting.

"It is one thing to discover the errors and abuses of the Church of Rome, and it is another, and a very different thing, to have the mind opened to perceive the spiritual glory and feel the regenerating influence of Divine truth. Many, who could easily discern the former, remained complete strangers to the latter, as preached by Luther and his associates; and it is not to be expected that these would make sacrifices, and still less that they would count all things loss, for the excellent knowledge of Christ. Persons of this character abounded at this period in Italy. But the following extracts shew that truth, and they paint in strong colours the many of the Italians received the love of the ardent thirst for an increase of knowledge, which the perusal of the first writings of the Reformers had excited in their breasts. "It is now fourteen years' (writes Egidio a Porta, an Augustinian monk on the lake impulse of a certain pious feeling, but not of Como, to Zuingle) since I, under the according to knowledge, withdrew from my parents, and assumed the black cowl. If I did not become learned and devout, I at least appeared to be so, and for seven years discharged the office of a preacher of God's word, alas! in deep ignorance. I savoured not the things of Christ; I ascribed nothing to faith, all to works. But God would not permit his servant to perish for ever. He brought me to the dust. I cried, Lord, what wilt thou have delightful voice, Go to Ulric Zuingle, me to do? At length my heart heard the

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and he will tell thee what thou shouldst do." O ravishing sound! my soul found ineffable peace in that sound. Do not think that I mock you; for you, nay, not you, but God by your means, rescued me

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